Gaining weight in college is the new normal. The “Freshman 15” used to be a joke, but today it is no joke. The freshman 15 has turned into the sophomore 20, junior 30 and senior 40. According to Health.com 70% of students experience weight gain in college. And I am going to guess that is not all muscle (or bones).
Weight gain in college is not something that should be accepted. Our bodies gain weight because of the foods that we are putting in our bodies and of lack of exercise. Stress also plays a significant role in the way our bodies are able to regulate.
DO THIS: Think vegetables and meat when you are planning your meals. If you can fill your plate or smoothies, with mostly veggies you are headed down the right path. Having a salad with every meal and eating it first will be a healthy start. Just do not load that salad with sugary dressings and toppings. You also want to have carbs, but they need to be healthy carbs like sweet potatoes or long grain wild rice.
DO THIS: Establish a sleep schedule. This is hard for college students, but you can do it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every morning and night. You have to train yourself to do this and it might take a while. I promise, if you are up at 5 or 6 every morning and you are working the schedule we talked about here, then you are going to be ready to go to bed at 10.
DO THIS: Workout first thing in the morning. If you don’t, it is very likely that you will not do it. There is research that shows that you burn more calories throughout the day if you workout in the morning, but that is not why I want you to do it then. If you wait until everyone else in the world is up, then there are going to be people and things to distract you from your goals.
DO THIS: Get a gallon jug and fill it with water. Try to drink that gallon every single day. This is more water than the recommended amount, but if you can drink this every day you will start to train yourself to drink water. You are also going to see huge improvements in the way you feel and the way your skin looks.
DO THIS: Workout hard for at least 20 minutes every day. It is the single most effective thing you can do to eliminate stress. The more I exercise, the less need I have to get a massage. It works for pretty much everyone.
The issues with weight gain in college is not so much about the weight. It is more about the lifestyle that you are creating for yourself and the habits that you are setting in stone. There are also a lot of women who are super unhealthy but are skinny. The way you look on the outside is not always a clear picture of how healthy you are on the inside.
You want to establish a healthy lifestyle for yourself while you are in college because it will only get harder when you graduate and have a full-time job.
Now, let’s talk about loving your body at all of it’s stages…. If you hate your body and you talk ugly to your body, most likely you will not be able to lose weight. It is a mind thing that is very real. You cannot hate yourself into weight loss. Weather you are gaining weight or not, your body is a finely crafted machine that allows you to do all the things that you want to do. Love your body for what it is and what it does for you. If you struggle with positive self talk about your body start here: I love that my body is healthy. I love that I can walk to school. I love that I can eat without getting sick. I love that I have legs, etc. Start very basic. Want to take it to the next level? Look in the mirror and tell yourself, out loud, everything that you love about yourself and your body.
Hughes, Locke. “How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/how-sugar-affects-your-body.
JJ Virgin. “5 ‘Healthy’ Habits That Seriously Stall Your Fast Fat Loss.” JJ Virgin, 9 May 2019, https://jjvirgin.com/5-healthy-habits-stall-fast-fat-loss-2/.
O'Connor, Amy, and Amy O'Connor. “70% Of Students Gain Weight During College: Study.” Health.com, 26 Sept. 2012, https://www.health.com/family/college-gain-weight.